Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Christmas Wish

I bake a lot this time of year, some of it healthy, some of it not. Almost all of it is shipped off to family, friends or co-workers. There are a few of Louis's favorites that mostly get left at home, like the Bailey's truffles, but we really don't eat that much of it (other than testing it while I'm cooking to make sure its edible:) This post is all candy, but there will be two more posts with muffins, cookies, and squares. I hope that you will use these recipes to help you spread Christmas cheer and help you find the joy on those days when its hard to see it.

Espresso Oat Christmas Truffles
adapted from This recipe from Green Kitchen Stories

15 Medjool dates, pitted
4 Tbsp rolled oats
2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut
2 Tbsp coconut oil, softened
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cardamom
2 Tbsp brewed espresso

1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl, and with a fork, mash and mix until it is a smooth, sticky, and uniform mass. You can use your hands to help mix everything together as well. 
2. Place mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes
3. Remove from fridge, and form into small balls with your hands, then roll in cocoa powder, coconut, rolled oats, or chopped nuts. Makes about 15-20 truffles. 
4. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving and store extras in the fridge. 

Black Bean Chocolate Truffles
adapted from this recipe from Good Things Grow

1 C cooked black beans
2 Tbsp coconut oil
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C chopped semi-sweet chocolate

1. Place all ingredients except semi-sweet chocolate in a large bowl. 
2. Mash everything together until smooth and uniform. 
3. Roll about 1 Tbsp of the mixture into a ball, and place on a plate lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all mixture is used. ( Makes about 15-20 truffles)
4. Place truffles in the fridge for about 1 hour
5. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Take a few truffles out of the fridge at a time. Insert a toothpick into the truffle, then roll the truffle in the melted chocolate to coat. Remove the toothpick, and place the truffle back on a parchment lined plate to return to the fridge. Repeat until all truffles are coated. 
6. Store in the fridge. 

You would not believe these have beans in them. They are smooth, rich, and chocolatey. Enjoy with a cold glass of milk.  

Bailey's Truffles

I have been making these truffles for about 10 years. I have made them for Christmas every year, but I've also made them for special occasions like our wedding. I made a fancy version of these in three colors ( white, milk, and dark) and covered our wedding cake with them (see photo below), and it was beautiful. The recipe came from the bottle of Bailey's one year, and it is not healthy at all, but the flavour holds such wonderful memories for me, I will not alter it! They are very rich and smooth.

1/2 C whipping cream
1/4 butter
3 Tbsp sugar
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chopped
1/4 C Baileys
Coatings: grated chocolate, cocoa, chopped nuts, sprinkles, icing sugar

1. Combine cream, butter, and sugar in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. 
2. Remove from heat. Add Chocolate, stirring until completely melted
3. Stir in Baileys. 
4. Chill mixture until firm ( at least 4 hours)
5. Shape mixture into balls and roll in coatings of your choice. Prepare to have really messy hands!
6. Store in the refrigerator. 
7. Makes about 4-5 dozen truffles depending on the size. 

Coffee Toffee
adapted from this recipe at Smitten Kitchen

One of my brothers loves toffee, so I started making my own toffee a few years ago to give him at Christmas. This is a slightly different recipe than the one I usually make, but I really like the addition of coffee to the recipe. I made his without chocolate, but also made a batch with chocolate to send to Louis's work. I didn't add the hazelnuts because its a nut free zone, but I think the nuts would be a nice addition.

1 C butter
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C white sugar
1 1/2 tsp molasses
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C hazelnuts, toasted and skinned

1. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Crush nuts if using
3. In a heavy saucepan, melt the botter, sugars, molasses, salt and espresso. 
4. Attach your candy thermometer to the pot.
5. Keep the heat at medium and stir occasionally until the temp reaches about 250F. Watch carefully, because the temp rises quickly at the end. 
6. Start stirring constantly and remove from heat once the temp hits 300F
7. Immediately pour the mixture onto the prepared pan and spread with a spatula or wooden spoon. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the toffee and let sit about 1 minute while it melts, then spread evenly over the base. Top with crushed nuts. 
8. Let sit at room temp until set. I left mine about 1 hour. Then break into pieces, and store in fridge so that the candy doesn't get soft. I actually stored some in the freezer as well. This changed the color, but it still tasted delicious. 

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